Skip to main content

Full text of "Year book of the Old setters' association, Johnson county"

See other formats



3 1833 01084 7025 

Digitized by 

the Internet Archive 

in 2013 


im i 




of Johnson County 

Held at 

The Johnson County Fair Grounds 
AUGUST 19, 1909 

C. A. Webber Printing Co., Iowa City 









The Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 
closed its forty-third annual reunion and picnic, at the 
Johnson county fair grounds, last evening, with the 
election of its officers for the ensuing year. 

A sumptuous picnic dinner at mid-day; a business 
meeting, a literary, musical, and oratorical program 
provided the entertainment of the afternoon, with a 
thousand and one reminiscences interwoven. 


The main address of the day was that of E. E. 
Johnston, who gave an interesting and instructive dis- 
course, to which the large audience paid unfailing at- 

Among other things, Mr. Johnston expressed great 
pleasure in meeting so many of the old settlers of John- 
son county and referred in complimentary terms to 
the vigor and permanence of the Old Settlers' Asso- 
ciation, which has done much to draw from the mem- 
ories of the pioneers the valuable history of pioneer 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

days and preserve it for the information of the gener- 
ations to come. He laid claim to being a young old 
settler of Iowa, coming to this state thirty-seven years 
ago from Ohio, and described some of the conditions 
in northwestern Iowa at that time, when it was twenty 
years behind Johnson county in point of development. 


The pioneers of this state exhibited great fore- 
sight in the selection of a territory for their future 
homes. The present generation of Iowans will agree 
that no other state, east or west presents a more beau- 
tiful sight in this day than may be seen in the broad 
prairies, cultivated farms, and picturesque streams of 
Iowa, the "beautiful land", a state with 34,000,000 
acres of fertile farms, raising products to feed a nation 
and men to govern it. The population statistics of the 
United States and other countries show that Iowa is 
capable of supporting many more millions of people 
than at present, for it is as productive as any spot on 
the globe. 


The Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 
may take pride in the fact that Johnson county is older 
than Iowa, either the state or the territory. The 
county of Johnson was organized by an act of congress 
passed December 21, 1837, while it was still a part of 
the territory of Wisconsin. The territory of Iowa 
dates from an act of congress June 12, 1838. The 
early settlers of Johnson county had an eye for the 
beautiful as well as the utilitarian in locating along or 
near the winding Iowa river, and the results of their 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 5 

labors is an immensely productive county with nearly 
400,000 acres of farm lands and agricultural wealth 
amounting to many millions of dollars, annually. 

We of this generation are indebted to the pioneer 
for three things, three tendencies or policies, which 
have had much to do in making Iowa great. 

Mr. Johnston commented interestingly on the 
w T ork of the pioneers in reference to building roads, etc., 
and also in the interest of public schools and education 
in general. 

He also praised the early settlers for their founda- 
tion and development of Iowa's form of government, 
subsequently productive of the present grandeur of 
the commonwealth. 


The early settlers established the habit of indus- 
try which has come down to us as a great blessing. 
Iowa has never been a get-rich-quick state, and with- 
out great cities we have grown great and wealthy by 
the honest labor of the toiler who makes the state to 
produce agricultural products to the amount of a mil- 
lion dollars every day in every year. MacCauley 
suggests in one of his essays that there is little merit 
in a life that commands nothing more than a name 
and date on a tombstone. This philosophy is false, 
for it overlooks the fact that it is a greater thing to 
help to lift the level of life and hope in any community 
a little higher by the industry and patriotism of con- 
stant service to the community, than it is to perform 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

a few deeds of note, however spectacular, which may 
be written on the public records at death. 


Among those present from abroad was a feature 
contributed by four members of the family of Robert 
Finkbine, a pioneer of this city and Des Moines, the 
capital, sending hither his four sons, Charles, Ed., Will 
and Harry Finkbine. 

Mrs. Belle Gray Stewart a popular resident of 
other days, now a San Franciscan, was also present, 
greeting old time friends, of whom she has scores here. 


Many very aged people were on the grounds, 
shaking hands with their "chums" of long ago, and 
reminiscently talking over pioneer days. 


It looks as if F. X. Rittenmeyer were the banner- 
bearer of the day. He also bore his years remarkably 
well, for he will be 94 on Nov. 22, 1909. 

Mrs. Ritter, at 92, and Mrs. Tucker, also 92, were 
as hale and hearty as girls, one may almost say. 

Other pioneers of more than SO years, who regis- 
tered yesterday, were Sophronia Ritter (84) now a 
Floyd county woman, A. G. Kent, William Sweet, 
Sion Hill, Henry Walker, and J. Y. Stover. 

Old Settlers Association of} Johnson County 7 


Aside frorrfthe address by E. E. Johnston, already 
reported in brief herein, Matt. Cavanaugh provided a 
strong feature in the program by reading letters of 
reminiscence and regret from numerous absent settlers. 

Major Ira J. Alder delivered an address, full of 
interesting recollections of the lamented ''War Gov- 
ernor", Samuel J. Kirkwood. 


The following letters were read before the reunion 
by M. Cavanaugh. They contain many interesting 
details and are given in full: 

Monmouth, 111., Aug. 17, 1909 
Mr. M. Cavanaugh, Chairman of Committee, Iowa 
City, Iowa: 

Dear Sir: — Your kind invitation to myself and 
Mrs. Jayne to meet with you at your annual Old Set- 
tlers' Meeting, was duly received. I find it impossi- 
ble for either of us to be present, which we so much 
would like to be. 

I have but recently removed from your midst, 
where, after a residence of sixty-nine years, I can hold 
nothing but the kindest remembrance of its people. 
I would like to meet and greet with those who, for 
half a century, have met in annual reunion, and have 
gone over their pioneer days. At some future time I 
hope to be able to meet with you as of days passed by. 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

Thanking you for your kind invitation, I am sin- 
cerely yours, 

Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Jayne. 

Akron, Colo., Aug. 4, '09 
M. Cavanaugh, M. Remley, A. E. Swisher, Iowa City, 

Dear Friends: — I assure you I would be glad to 
accept your invitation to meet with the Old Settlers 
of Johnson county and clasp hands with you, but I'm 
afraid a few words wil have to suffice for this time, 
as I can't afford the expense of coming. 

I get a great deal of enjoyment by permitting my 
mind to run back to those days when we boys used to 
meet on the banks of the Cedar river and take a swim. 
The Cavanaughs, Rates, Morgans, and Kirkpatricks, 
and a host of others I might mention. 

My father staked out his claim in Cedar township, 
Johnson county, in the month of July, 1838. 

All hairto the Old Settlers' of Johnson county, Iowa, 
from 1838 to 1844! I'd be pleased to meet with you 
all and have a gocd old family talk, but these few 
words will have to content for the present. 

I am now located in Washington county, Colorado, 
sixteen miles northeast of the county seat, Akron. It 
is a pleasant country to look at, climate superb, the 
soil very productive. All kinds of small grain does 
well here and some corn is raised. I think when the 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


wild nature gets out of the ground that it will be a 
corn country, but not like Iowa. There is no natural 
timber here. Cherries and plums and all kinds of 
small fruit do well and some apples and peaches. 
The natural grass is very rich. They are now making 
wild hay. They put up a good deal of it. Alfalfa, 
wherever tried, does fine, but there hasn't much of it 
been tried. 

I dictated this letter to my grand-daughter, Flora 
Irene Sargent. 

Well now dear Matthew, I am sending you a land 
circular. You hand it to M. Remley and request him 
to hand it to A. E. Swisher. I will be glad to hear 
from you any time it is convenient. 

Now goodbye, old friends, 

H. S. Sutliff. 

Castle Rock, Colo., July 25, '09 

Committee of the Old Settlers' Association, of 
Johnson county, Iowa City, Iowa. 

Dear Sirs: — We have your kind invitation to 
attend your Old Settlers' meeting on August 19, 1909. 
It is not easy to express the pleasure it would afford 
us to meet with you on that occasion and rehearse 
over the scenes and trials of those early days, but our 
health will not permit us to undertake the journey. 

Wishing you many happy reunions, we are 
Very truly yours, 

P. W. O'Brien, 
M. A. O'Brien. 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

Des Moines, Aug. 15, 1909. 
Gentlemen: — Your card of invitation received 
and we intended to go this year, but on account of the 
excessive heat we can't hardly venture, if the weather 
should change between now and Thursday we may be 
on hand. Very respectfully, 

Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Marquardt. 

Indianola, August 16, '09. 

Mr. M. Cavanaugh. 

Dear Sir: — Your very kind invitation was re- 
ceived some time ago and we were looking forward to 
the time with pleasure. But owing to the extreme 
heat have had to give up the pleasure at the last mo- 
ment. We thank you and the gentlemen on the com- 
mittee for your kind remembrance and hope we may 
be able to be present at some future time. I should 
like to be with you and hear that good old song, ' 'Should 
old acquaintance be forgot" brought to mind in the 
days of old. 

Would you kindly send us the paper with an ac- 
count of the Association's meeting? Thanking you 
again for the favor, we remain 

Yours truly, 

Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin. 

304 E. 1st Ave. 

Crepertin, Cal., July 26, '09 
Messrs. Cavanaugh, Remley, Swisher, Committee: 
Thanks for your recognition of me as an old set- 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


tier of Johnson county. That I am old I will not 
'deny, but the term settler belongs to a body of men 
and women of whom but few remain, but their work 
is kept in memory by many who have entered into their 
places and have enjoyed the fruits of their labors. 
Of this latter class I am most happy to be considered 
a member. 

The twenty- two years spent in Iowa City are 
the happiest years of my life. The nine years since 
I left the city have been full of pleasure remembrances 
of dear friends of my wife and myself, most of whom 
have been called to their reward. ? 

Of the ten ladies who sat at the table with her on 
her seventeenth birthday, all older than herself, not 
one survives. With the pleasure I should have, could 
I be present, some feelings of sadness would mingle. 

Gratitude for the blessings that have come from 
the lives of those who have "gone before us but not 
lost" in the memory of the hearts, which is my senti- 
ment in closing. 

Sincerely yours, 


Sutherland, la., Aug. 17, '09 
[Messrs. Cavanaugh, Irish, and Swisher, Old Set- 
tlers' committee, Iowa City, Iowa. 

Dear Friends: — After making all arrangements to 
leave this morning for Iowa City to attend the reunion 
■on the 19th, I am compelled on account of the extreme 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

heat, to remain at home. Last year I got as far as 
the depot on my way, but was recalled by a telegram. 
So again I am disappointed. 

It was an unrealized wish of Mr. Woods' to attend 
a meeting of the Old Settlers of Johnson county. It 
was there he grew to manhood and he never lost in- 
terest in the place or the people. It was his desire 
that I should go and take to the old friends a message 
of kindly remembrance from him, who now lies in the 
beautiful city of the silent ones not far from our home. 

Thanking you for your invitation, I am with re- 
spect, sincerely, 

Roma N. Woods. 

Grinnell, Iowa, July 20, '09 
Messrs. M. Cavanaugh, M. Remley, A. E. Swisher, 

My Dear Sirs: — Your very polite invitation to 
me to a. ten:! the annual meeting of the Old Settlers 
of Johnson county, August 19, is very welcome. 

You have eminent reason for such an anniversary 
and for its enthusiastic celebration. The state, through 
its legislature, did memorable deeds in your county, 
your early settlers were conspicuous in state history, 
and wrote their own biographies into the annals of the 
territory and of the later commonwealth. It was more 
than a score of years after the palefaces occupied your 
county before I met any of them, and then there were 
such men there as Kirkwood and Irish, Byington and 
Clark, Downey and Dye, Finkbine and Parvin, and 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


such as you, yourselves, gentlemen of the committee, 
so worthily represent. James Harlen began his public 
career in your county, and a man must be a good 
dodger or wear a strong helmet if he could avoid or 
bear up under the sledge hammer blows of a Brainerd. 
If we wanted a railroad, or a well built $3,000,000 
state house we must go to Iowa City for the director 
of the enterprise. 

My pen is tempted into a wide range of honorable 
history when I think of Johnson county. Yes, it is 
eager to go back beyond the home of the white man 
there, into the wigwam of the Indian, for there long 
lived Poweshiek, whom we honor in this county pre- 
eminently because of his grand display of gratitude 
in making the land treaty of 1842 which opened cen- 
tral Iowa to us and showed that at times, at least, 
he could be a moral hero of a type rare among men of 
any color. 

Yes, I thank you gentlemen, I should like to be 
with you on the 19th, but fear I may not be able. 

Yours cordially, 

L. F. Parker 

Davenport, la., Aug. 16, 1909. 
To the Old Settlers of Johnson county. 

Dear Friends: — I send regrets that I can not be 
with you next Thursday at your annual picnic. I am 
proud to say that I am one of you and still call Iowa 
City my home. It is the place of my birth. It is 
where I lived for over half a century and "The Old 
Settlers" of Johnson are very near and dear to me. 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

"How dear to my heart are the scenes of my 
childhood when fond recollections present them to 
view, etc." 

Nearly ten years have passed since I left Iowa 
City and while I'm pleasantly situated in Davenport, 
vet my heart often yearns for the old ' 'stamping ground' ' 
and "old friends" that mean so much more to me. 
I wish you a pleasant day and hope that ere another 
year rolls around (no preventing providence) to be 
with you. 

Yours very truly, 
Mrs. Agnes McElwain Burge. 
1036 W. 6th St. 

West Branch, la., Aug. 17, 1909. 
My Dear Friend Gil Irish: — From boyhood to 
old age my father and mother with their children were 
pioneers in Iowa City, with no means, but strong in 
the faith that Iowa City would shake off the cloak of 
a village and become the beautiful city she has, the 
pride of Iowa. So today I greet the Old Settlers with 
my heart if I can not be with you. One door string 
is always out to the Old Settlers of good old Johnson 
county. My wife and I wish you a happy day, August 
19, 1909, and that you may live to see many more 
Old Settlers' days, is the wish of Martin Van Buren 
Butler, a son of Walter and Elizabeth Butler. 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


Aledo. 111., August 18, 1909 

To the committee of the Old Settlers' Association 
and the Old Settlers at the Annual Picnic assembled. 

Greeting: — 

When I received the announcement card from 
your committee inviting me to attend this picnic I be- 
gan making arrangements to be present, but "the best 
laid plans of mice and men do sometimes gang aft 
aglee" and so it was with my plans. My youngest 
brother wrote me to meet him in Iowa City the 28th 
of July and as he could stay but a week in the city I 
dropped everything and came to the city to meet him 
and stayed two weeks. I could not remain any longer 
and a few days after I left the city he came, so that 
I am twice disappointed in not meeting my brother 
and in not being able to remain long enough to look 
into the faces of friends and neighbors of my childhood 
home. While in the city I visited a few of the once 
familiar places. A walk along the Iowa Avenue held 
a great fascination for me as I was able to locate a few 
of the old houses, among them the old Crumb house 
and a few others, the old corners where the new Meth- 
odist church stands and the Catholic church, a house 
still further north owned by a Mr. Freeman, I had 
the pleasure of a visit, or more properly a call, with 
Mrs. Adda (Kimball) Jones, and saw at a distance 
Miss Mariah Hammer, and too, I stood once more on 
the steps of the "Old Capitol", and in the old univer- 
sity and imagined I could see Professor Wells or Hum- 
phrey or Miss Davis or Professor Welton and almost 
expected to hear them speak to me; voices that are 
long since hushed. 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

But today I wish for you many returns of the 
day's pleasures, and as in imagination I grip your 
hands and look into your smiling, happy faces, know- 
ing not but what some of us will have reached the end 
of our journey on this earth and have reached our 
home on the other side of the river. 

Yours in loving fellowship, 
Mrs. Virginia E. Hanby Wright. 

"The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord 
make His face to shine upon thee and give thee peace." 

Minneapolis, Minn., July 15, '09. 
M. Cavanaugh, M. Remley, A. E. Swisher, committee, 
Iowa City, Iowa. 

Gentlemen: — I desire to thank you for your 
very kind invitation to attend the reunion of Old 
Settlers of Johnson county, and it would be a treat 
if I could comply; more than that, it would be an epoch 
in my life. 

There are so many that I should love to greet 
and to whom a smile, a hearty handshake would be 
due. A great happiness would come from seeing and 
looking into their eyes once more. So many hopes have 
been realized in the years that have so persistently 
fled by; so many friends have passed to higher, older 
stages, who, while children when last I saw them, are 
now managing the active affairs of life. 

Our hearts remain young and we glory in life and 
growth, 1 hough by such growth we leave behind many, 
and if 1 should come there would be a sorrow over 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


the many whom I should meet and who, with "chang- 
ing clouds and changeless sun and stars" above, their 
acts, lives, and works are on another shore, boundless 
and eternal. 

With the kindliest thoughts and hopes for the 
highest welfare and happiness for all, I am minded 
to say, "May you live long and prosper." 


S. M. Finch. 

Sedro Woolly, Wash., Aug. 4, '09. 
My Dear Friends of the Committee: — 

How much joy it would give me to meet with my 
dear old Iowa City friends on Aug. 19th. Too many 
miles lie between the dear old home and my present 
home, for me to entertain the thought of making the 
trip to Iowa this year. The A. Y. P. Ex. is all ab- 
sorbing now, and we are getting ready for camping 
at Agate beach, up in the San Juan Islands. We 
are eighty miles north of Seattle and we go about 
thirty miles to camp. We go through Deception 
Pass. It is grand, and very dangerous much of the 
time. There are such awful whirlpools and in some 
places they have never been able to "sound the depth". 
So often I think of the happy, carefree days of my 
childhood, with a good father, mother, and grand- 
mother. None had better I think. There are so few 
left of the precious old people now. We are taking 
their places so rapidly, and soon we shall have rested. 
When in Seattle last month I visited with the Rev. 
John O. Foster, whom I had not met for fifty-two years, 
when we were students at Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He is 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

a grand old man, is all alone, and has lived in the 
same boarding house for three years. He told me of 
so many of the old students that he has kept track 
of. He spoke of Matthew Cavanaugh very particu- 
larly. I must say good night my dear friends. 


Sarah J. Thompson. 

1908 TO AUGUST 19, 1909 

In compliance with the duties assigned to us we 
present a list of the Old Settlers of Johnson county 
who have died since the last meeting of the associa- 
tion, August 20, 1908. 

The roll is not as lengthy as in some of the 
past years. Yet it contains the names of a large 
number of real old settlers and active members of the 
association. Of those who met with us one year ago, 
Chas. H. Fairall, Bryan Dennis, W. D. Lichty, Michael 
Ening, C. W. Lansberg, Capt. Benjamin Owen, Mrs. 
John Tantlinger, Edward P. Whitacre, Prof. Amos N. 
Currier, Mrs. Huldah Simpson, Judge Samuel H. 
Fairall, Garrett Lancaster, W. N. Chalfant, Chauncey 
F. Lovelace, Frederick W. Hempstead, Mrs. Frank 
Stackman, and Mrs. Mary Randall, will meet with us 
no more. 

August 19, 1909. 

Mrs. G. R. Irish, 
G. R. Irish. 


Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 19 

AUGUST 1908 





Michael Kelley 


Daniel Davit 


Mrs. Mary Ham 


Mrs. Harry Smith 


Mrs. W. H. Slaughter 


John A. Mahan 


John Slater 


George Stagg 


Anton Stahle 


B. F. Reno 


Joshua Strickler 



Oliver B. Henyon 


Mrs. Chas. Colony 


Frank B. Berkley 


Joseph A. Huffman 

Mrs. John Davis 

Laurence Denneny 


JANUARY, 1909 

William J. Davis 


James Cropley 


Frederick A. Remley 


Wm. D. Quick 

OCTOBER, 1908 

Mrs. Mary Ashdown 

Mrs. Kate Beranek 

Mrs. Mathias 


Geo. W. Rohret 


Jesse Berry 


Mrs. Katherine Corbett 


Bryan Dennis 


Mrs. Volitia Price 


Mrs. August Sinclair 

Mrs. J. T. Turner 


Mrs. Elizabeth Stackman 


Nathaniel Crow 


Mrs. Albert Prybil 



W. D. Lichty 


Gustave Thiel 

Michael Einig 


Mrs. Jane Watkinson 


Mrs. Elvira Lewis 


Mrs. Lucretia Wilcox 


Mrs. Mary A. Rice 


Mrs. Agnes Baker 


Neal Kenny 


John Prochas 


Mrs. Margaret Smith 


Chas. H. Fairall 



Leonard Scheik 


Joseph Bidlock 


Frank Rezac 

Mrs. Ella Hess 


Mary E. Irish 


Mrs. Frank Stackman 


Herman Laufer 


Samuel Bacon 


John Zenescheck 


Michael Beecher 


Mrs. Eliza J. Halstead 


Wm. Woolf 


Mrs. Philip Haberstroh 

Daniel Ryan 


Geo. W. Loan 

Mrs. N. J. Mozier 


Mrs. Anna Wanek 

Geo. W. Cuber 



Anton Kasper 


Mrs. Rachel Deal 


Charles Cerhan 


Miss Alice McLaughlin 

Mrs. Anna A. Scheetz 


Thomas Boos 

Mrs. Jas. Beranek 


Mrs. Elizabeth Gallager 

James Murphy 


Jno. R. Musgrave 


MARCH, 1909 

Richard Lee 


Mrs. Hannah Letts 


Milo Ferson 


Mrs. Ella Ryan 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

Mrs. Ella Blum 


MAY, 1909 

C. W. Landsberg 


Mrs. Frank Rinda 


Capt. Beni. Owen 


Frederick Hemstead 


Andrew Altmire 


G. A. Ivins 


Mrs. John Stadler 


Amos Noyes Currier 


Mrs. Catherine Collins 


Chas. H. Mackey 


Mrs. John Smith 


Mrs. Clara Hoffelder 


John W. Wilson 


Mrs. Mary Warner 


John B. Helmer 

Mrs. Andrew Crawford 


Mrs. Joe Dostal 


Mrs. Fred Michael 


Wm. Houston Woods 


John Flannagan 

J fry 


Mrs. Josephine Volkringer 


Mrs. Annie Til 


Philo Colony 


Mrs. Anna Shay 


Samuel H. Fairall 


JUNE, 1909 

Miss Anna Miller 


Hulda R. Simpson 


Mrs. W. E. Schrader 


Edward Flannagan 


Mrs. Henrietta Adams 


Chas. E. Switzer 


Mrs. W. C. Wadsworth 


Mrs. Frank Beard 

Miss Anna Spurrier 


John B. Hudson 


Alice Smith Courtner 


Mrs. Mary F. Hastings 


Mrs. Frank Kindl 


Mrs. Martin Pitlick 

A. J. Hohmann 


Mrs. Mary Peters 


Chas. L. Sook 


Mrs. Albert Stepnicka 


Mrs. Chas. Bucheister 


JULY, 1909 

APRIL, 1909 

Miss Mary Lucas 


Isaac Reizenstein 


Garret Lancaster 


Mrs. Helena Schnare 


George Swift 


Mrs. M. Ellen Haas 


W. N. Chalfant 


Mrs. Bridget Lavin 


Mrs. Frank Sager 

Wm. Billingsly 

Mrs. Mary Randall 


Mrs. John Tantlinger 


Chauncey F. Lovelace 


Edward P. Whitacre 


Mrs. Sarah Wickham 


Thomas Hunt 

AUGUST, 1909 

Mrs. Katherine Benda 


Mrs. Margaret Rhoadarmer 


S. H. Johnson 


Beni. B. Harris 


Mrs. Anna B. Tanner 


Jonathan Marner, Sr. 


Clement W. Fairchild 


Mrs. J. W. Fackler 


James G. Sharp 

Mrs. Emily J. Swain 


Dennis Kerrigan 

Mrs. M. E. B. Gaston 


Wendell Gates 


Charles Hastings 

Miss Jola J. Packard 


Jas. H. Dry den 


George Hoover 


Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 2 1 


The list of old settlers who enrolled with Secretary, 
Gil Irish, at the annual picnic of the Johnson county 
Old Settlers' Association last week, shows many names 
familiar to a large number in the county. In addition 
the secretary noticed the attendance of a good many 
others who were not enrolled, and there were doubtless 
others whose names were not secured. Following is 
the list: 

Adams, John L. 

Hunter, George 

Adams, John E. and wife. 

Hoffman, J. M. 

Adams, Mrs. J. M. 

Heinsius, Charles 

Brown, Geo. W. and wife. 

Hohenschuh, Mrs. Teresa 

Borts, David 

Howell, R. P. 

Buchanan, W. H. 

Hill, Mrs. O. C. 

Balluff, Edward 

Hitchcock, George 

Byington, Mrs. Mary 

Hughes, J. P. 

Byington, 0. A. 

Huffman, Aleck 

Borland, George T. 

Hemingway, A. P. 

Beck, J. G. 

Hemingway, Mrs. L. E. 

Ball, George W. Sr. 

Hope, Miss Annie 

Cox, Thomas 

Hughes, J. R. 

Coldren, Stevens A. 

Hughes, T. B. 

Clifford, C. E. and wife 

Irish, Mrs. Charles 

Corlett, J. K. 

Irish, Miss Elizabeth 

Cannon, Wilbur D. 

Irish, G. R. 

Crosier, Thomas 

Kent, A. G. 

Coldren, Mrs. Mary 0. 

Kean, Mrs. R. A. 

Dorher, John 

Kettle well, W. A. 

Douglas, Larimer 

Koontz, Geo. W. and wife 

Dixon, David 

Kirkwood, Mrs. Samuel J. 

Dunkel, William 

Lee, Joseph J. 

Dugan, Mrs. Thomas 

Metzger, J. J. 

Ely, Mrs. E. H. 

McReynolds, F. M. 

Eggenberg, John 

McKray, Lydia 

Eggenberg, Frederick 

Miller, W. H. 

Evans, Mrs. Minnie 

Miller, Mrs. R. J. 

Foster, Mrs. W. E. C. 

Magruder, George 

Fry, S. P. and wife 

Miller, Mrs. Mary E. 

Graham, Robert 

McChesney, R. A. 

Hill, Sion 

Moon, M. J. 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

Morrison, Mrs. Thomas 

Stover, J. Y. 

Palmer, Charles H. 

Schneider, Frederick 

Poland, James H. 

Struble, John T. 

Pinnev, George W. 

Schwimley, Adam 

Pratt, William 

Stackman, Frank 

Ricord, Mrs. Emily 

Schell, John W. 

Ross, Rachel 

Scales, N. W. 

Roessler, Emily 

Scales, Efhe 

Roessler, John J. 

Sunier, Mrs. Stephen 

Roland, Howard 

Shultz, H. B. 

Rumelliart, De vault 

Tarbox, Thesba 

Randall, Mary Walter 

Vonstine, Miss Mary 

Riltenmeyer, F. X. 

Westcott, Emory 

Riley, Mrs. CM. 

Wieneke, Henry and wife 

Riley, Carl 

Walker, Cora Adams 

Ricker, Jacob 

Wilson, Mrs. Edna B. 

Roessler, A. A. 

Walker, Henry- 

Stratton, Frank 

White, James 

Sweet, William 

TTT^ir ~\/r tv 1 t 

Wolfe, M. K. and wife 

Secrest, J. H. 

Yarbrough, Eliza 

O 1 _ TT ' _ 

banders, Horace 

Yarbrough, Samuel 

bhirchrr, M. b. 



Borts, A. J. 

Jones, Sam 

Borts, Bessie 

Koontz, Edith 

Borts, Edna 

Kelley, T. D. and wife 

Borts, Ethel 

Springer, Chas. and wife 

Stouffer, J. C. and wife 

Hope, E. and wife 

Metzger, Mrs. J. J. 

Hope, Sherman 

Metzger, Miss Etta 

Mc Reynolds, Lulu 

Metzger, Bell 

Mc Reynolds, Mrs. F. M. 

M( -tzge.r, Dell 

Ross, Ernest. 

Metzger, Marguerite 

Woltz, Mrs. 

Richardson, Mrs. Amos 

Mentzer, Mrs. Chas. 

Whiting, Sam and wife 

Hasselhorst, August 

Wieneke, Mrs. Henry 

Coldren, Mrs. S. A. 

Wieneke, Miss Nellie 

Struble, Mrs. John Jr. 

Morton, Mrs. Milton 

Hill, Jane 

I lorton, Miss Ruth 

Hill, Mrs. Louisa 

Murphy, Mrs. Miranda 

Babbit, Mrs. 

Sunier, Miss Mary 

Babbit, Miss 

Sunier, Mrs. Stephen 

Gibson, Mrs. Lou 

White, Mrs. Jas. 

Howell, Matt and wife 

Saunders, Stephen 

Murphy, Wm. and wife 

McKray, Les'er 

Smith, Wrigley and family 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


Cozine, Mrs. Eliza 

Stevens Mrs. 'Mac 

Cozine, Mrs. Irving 

Stevens, Miss Annie 

Weber, Mrs. Wm. 

Stevens, Mrs. Jno. 

Lawyer, Mrs. Dr. 

Hamilton, Hezekiah 

Bradley, Mr. and Mrs. 

Fry, W. A. 

Moffit, Mrs. 

Louis, Mrs. Dora 

Evans, Thos. and wife 

Louis, Miss Eda 

VonStein, Sarah 

Cisna, Mrs. V. 

VonStein, Annie 

Cisna, Miss Hannah 

West co tt, Jane 

Irish, Jane T. 

Westcott, Emor 

Dagley, Mrs. Robt. 

Graham, Mrs. Robt. 

Metcalf, Thos. 

Graham, Miss Lulu 

Cozine, Dr. and wife 

Brennan, Thos. 

Stratton, Frances 

McFadden, Jas. and wife 

Stratton, Maude 

Matthes, Mrs. Jno. 

Stratton, Mrs. F. A. 

Alder, Ira J. 

Finkbine, Bros. 

Trump, Mrs. 

Curtis, Mrs. Bell 

Trump, Ott 

Johnston, E. E. and wife 

Roberick, Mrs. 

Schwimley, Rev. 

Tucker, Mrs. Margaret 

Strohm, Mrs. Henry 

Kloos, Mrs. Margaret 

Marquadt, G. W. and wife 

Furbish, I. and wife 

Muncy, Mrs. N. 

Fairall, H. H. 

Calkins, Mrs. G. S. 

Martin, Rev. 

Banta, Geo. and wife 

Watson, Mrs. J. N. 

Jack, Wm. 

Walker, Jos. and family 

Wheeler, Jno. 

Lindsley, F. D. and wife 

Clark, Mrs. Jno. 

Schump, Mrs. Chas. Jr. 

McGinnis, Florence C. 

Chansky, C. J. and family 

Reed, Iowa B. 

Chansky, Mrs. Anna 

Rohret, W. A. 

Klema, Katie 

Roegler, Mrs. Jno. 

Stevens, Addie 


The German Aid Society, of Iowa City, was or- 
ganized in 1859, seven years before the Old Settlers' 
Association. The members celebrated the fiftieth year 
of its existence on November 24, .1909. As many of 
its members are and have been active members of this 
association, a report of that event is here given. 

Mayor Otto was introduced by President G. A. 
Benner, as the first speaker. In reviewing the his- 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

torv of the society, he said that during its existence 
it had collected $35,000; had paid sick benefits to the 
amount of $17,000, funeral expenses of members and 
the wives of members to the amount of $10,980, and 
had in its treasury at present $5,000, and that of its 
fifty-eight charter members, but three are living. 

After Mr. Otto's remarks. Col. Joseph Eibceck, of 
Des Moines, was introduced and gave an address in 
the German language, after which the members par- 
took of a bountiful supper. The evening was further 
spent in dancing and a social chat. 

The three surviving charter members are August 
Hazelhorst, aged 81 ; Adam Gill, 81 ; and Philip Katz?n- 
meyer, aged 78. 


Wm. Arn, Jr. 
Julius Adelsheim 
George Balluff 
Alois Baschnagel 
Jos. Baschnagel 
Louis Baschnagel 
Chas. Benner 
G. A. Benner 
Chas. H. Boberich 
Jos. Bock 
Wm. Bock 
Chas. Burger 
Harry Burger 
Roland Burger 
Wm. F. Burger 
Adolph Dehner 
Rudolph A. Drews 
J. W. Dunkel 
Edward B. Ebert 
John J. Englert 
Jos. Erb 
William Ernst 

Theo Fautz 
Chester Fieseler 
F. W. Fieseler 
Adam Gill 
Simon Gaulocher 
Christian Gaulocher 
M. Gerber 
Michael Goss 
Wm. Gossenberger 
Leo Grimm 
August Hasselhorst 
Ju'ius Haberstroh 
Peter Hoffmann 
Wm. Hoffelder 
W. P. Hohenschuh 
Peter Holzhauser 
Balthasser Hormel 
Echhardt Hormel 
George Hornung 
J- J- Hotz 
Chas. F. Hubner 
Julius F. Kasper 

Old Settlers' Association of Johnson County 


Philip Katzenmeyer 
G. Paul Katzenmeyer 
John Katzenmeyer 
John Kehrer 
F. W. Kemmerle 
George Keppler 
John J. Keppler 
Philip Kneisel 
J. E. Kramer 
John C. Kramer 
F. M. Krupp 
Geo. E. Kurz 
Wm. Kurz 
John Lang 
Daniel Leuz 
John Loewenstein 
Robert Lorenz 
Henry Louis 
Louis J. Messner 
Otto Meyer 
Albert Miller 
Emil Miller 
Otto Miller 
Herman Nicking 
John Pfeiffer 
Frank Poggenpohl 
William Pohler 
F. J. Rittenmeyer 

John Rittenmeyer 
Edward Rohret 
D. F. Rosenkranz 
Christ Schilling 
August Schindhelm 
Adam Schneider 
Edward Schneider 
G. W. Schmidt 
B. W. Schmidt 
Emil Schulz 
F. Schump 
Henry Schump 
George Schuppert 
John Schuppert 
Zacheus Seemann 
Chris. Senner 
Joseph Stach 
Adolf Schweigert 
John W. Sueppel 
Adam Unrath 
John Unrath 
Phil Unrath 
Frank Unrath 
Henry Vilhauer 
Michael Vilhauer 
Frank Volkringer 
Peter Zahs 
Fred Zimmerli 


Christian Haas, 
August Schmidt, 
Jacob Hotz, Sr., 
W. Bechtel, 
Henry Benner, 
Frank A. Kutcher, 
John Dahler, 
Leopold Kuhn, 
Geo. L. Ruppert, 
Colestin Busch, 
Anton Geiger, 
David Miller, 
Wm. Summerhausei 

Henry Brede, 


Died Frank A. Volkringer, April 12, 1881 

March 9, 1864 Philip Englert, April 29, 1881 

April 19, 1868 Fritz Gelhaus, June 9, 1881 

April 2, 1870 John Xanten, May 18, 1882 

Oct. 10, 1871 Peter A. Hiney, Sept. 3, 1882 

Dec. 5, 1871 John Goetz, March 15, 1883 

Feb. 24, 1872 William Louis, April 3, 1883 

July 6, 1874 Bernard Brogle, May 14, 1883 

Dec. 23, 1874 Henry Englert, July 17, 1883 

June 29, 1874 Adam Eppel, Nov. 12, 1883 

Nov. 12, 187 5 Paul Went?,, April 23, 1884 

May 3, 1876 Samuel Baker, Dec. 31, 1884 

July 12, 1879 Fred Karsten 

, Sr., John Louis, Nov. 19, 18S6 

August 16, 1880 Fred Messner, July 16, 1887 

March 29, 1881 Ottc Schmidt, Sept. 6, 1888 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

John Schneider, Oct. 8, 

John Schmidt (Wagner), 

December 6, 

Gustav Strub, 
Peter Meyer, 
Frank J. Ries, 
Max Otto, 

Sept. 30, 
Feb. 9, 
Sept. 15, 
March 14, 

Fred Rothweiler, Sr., May 29, 
Philip HofTelder, Jan. 20, 

Jos. Eickert, March 6, 

John Schmidt (Farmer) 

April 27, 

Fred Schmidt, Oct. 21, 

Christian Stemmler, Dec. 25, 
Peter Louis, May 29, 

Herman Lorenz, Dec. 8, 

Philip Hess, June 14, 

George Englert Aug. 16, 

Jacob Mohr, Feb. 13, 

Henry Schenkenmeyer, Apr. 9, 
Fred Kruger, July 21, 

Henry Seevogel, May 13, 

August Leuz, Sept. 1, 

1888 Bernard A. BallufT, 
Gottlieb Roegle, 

1888 Wm. J. Hotz, 

1889 Solomon Grim, 
1892 Henry Wachenfeld, 

1892 Paul Dilger, 

1893 John U. Miller, 

1894 Daniel Lowenstein, 

1895 Christian Boberick, 

1896 Frank Treptow, 
Wm. Burger, 

1896 Henry Fischer, 

1896 Matthias Spreng, 

1897 Jos. Lang, 
1897 Andreas Jann, 

1897 George Schlenk, 

1898 Jacob Kramer, Sr., 

1898 Thomas Pohler, 

1899 F. X. Geiger, 
1899 Wm. Rittenmeyer, 

1899 John Sorzer, 

1900 Charles Schwinn, 
1900 John Schwarz, 

Oct. 27, 
Feb. 15, 
April 12, 
April 13, 
Sept. 28, 
Feb. 23, 
March 10, 
Oct. 12, 
Dec. 2, 
May 2. 
Sept. 3, 
August 31, 
Nov. 24, 
August 31, 
Jan. 1, 
Jan. 6, 
Feb. 12, 
April 19, 
Feb. 27, 
Nov. 19, 
Nov. 10, 
June 26, 
Aug. 7, 



George P. Floyd, a veteran railroad man, is one 
of the old Minneapolis residents who believe that win- 
ters in the west and northwest are becoming more 
mild. Mr. Floyd was conductor of a passenger train 
which was stalled for five days in snowdrifts near 
Chicago in 1856. 

He tells his experience as follows: 

"Doubtless there are a few now living who will 
recall the terrible winter of 1855-56, a winter long to 
be remembered as one of the most severe ever known 
m tin's country. During the months of December, 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


1855, and January, 1856, storms followed each other 
in rapid succession. 

"All the railroads were blocked for days and 
traffic was suspended. At that time (55 years ago) 
the only railroad completed and running, west of 
Chicago, was the road from Chicago to Janesville, 
Wis., 91 miles, and the Chicago & Milwaukee, 92 miles. 
The first locomotive in Minnesota with a train of 
passenger cars, left St. Paul for St. Anthony, June, 
1862. It was not until 1872 that trains began to 
run on the Chicago & St. Paul road by way of Winona. 


"The changes in the status of railroading during 
the past 54 years are almost incomprehensible. Fifty 
years ago all the locomotives were wood burners and 
until 1857 were all inside connected. The engines in 
those days were crude affairs. We had no injectors 
or safety valves. The water was carried from the 
tender to the boiler by pumps driven by the revolu- 
tion of the driving wheels. All the engineer had to 
look out for was the throttle and three guage cocks. 

"No trains were run by telegraph in those days. 
All trains were run by time card, the conductor having 
full charge of his train. In those days we didn't 
know what a ticket punch w T as. Pasteboard tickets 
were sold over and over again until they were worn 
out. No extra charge was made for paying fare on 
the train. There was no check on the conductor 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

"In 1855 I was conductor on the Michigan Cen- 
tral Railroad. December, 1855, a heavy snowstorm 
be^an on the Atlantic coast. It worked its way west- 
ward, reaching Detroit the night of Dec. 18. The 
morning of Dec. 19 I left Detroit at 8.30 a. m., with 
the day express train. The train consisted of five 
passenger coaches, one second-class, two baggage cars, 
one express car, and two locomotives. There were 
158 passengers. 

"When we left Detroit the storm was blowing a 
hurricane and the snow drifting over the housetops. 
In those days we had no snow plows. All we had to 
fight the snow with was a sheet iron apron covering 
the pilot of the engine. Fighting the snow drifts we 
reached Marshall about midnight the second day. 

"There we changed engines, taking three power- 
ful engines to take the train from Marshall to Michigan 
City. It continued blowing cats and dogs, the snow 
increasing. Bucking the snowdrifts all the way we 
reached Michigan City the night of the second day. 


"From Detroit to Michigan City Ave had no 
trouble so far as food was concerned, but from Michigan 
City to Chicago, 56 miles, it was a horse of another 
color. There was no town or village after we left 
Michigan City until we reached Chicago. It was all 
open prairie and nothing to break the wind. 

"Before we left Michigan City I warned the pas- 
sengers to take lunches with them, as we had the 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


worst part of the road to go over. Some of them 
heeded my advice. From Michigan City we had 
three Dowp.rfnl locomotives. Bucking the snowdrifts 
we were 32 hours reaching Calumet, now called Ken- 
sington and Pullman. 

"At that time there was nothing there but a 
water tank. There we struck a snowdrift as high as 
the smoke stacks of the locomotives and half a mile 
long. We were obliged to buck the drift with our 
engines with nothing but the sheet iron over the pilots. 

"We left our train half a mile behind and went 
at the snow with the locomotives. For eight hours 
w T e bucked the drift. When we thought that with 
one more good lunge at the mountain of snow we 
would go through, we went back and hitched to our 
train and went at the drift 50 miles an hour. We got 
almost through when our forward engine climbed the 
rail and went off the track. The snow had Blown in 
behind the train so we could not back. We were in 
a vise, so to speak. 

"The mercury was 40 below zero and the storm 
still raging. The whole train was soon completely 
imbedded in snow. In a short time the pumps on all 
the engines froze up so we could not turn a wheel. 


"Not knowing how long we would be in that con- 
dition, I was obliged to take the bull by the horns. 
Like a shipwrecked crew the passengers must be dis- 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

ciplined. I requested all the passengers who had eat- 
ables to divide with those who had none. In those 
days canned meats of all kinds were shipped from 
eastern cities by express trains. 

"I stripped the express car of everything eatable 
and secreted it under the baggage car, in case of a raid 
on the food by a hungry crowd of passengers. By 
economizing we made the food that the passengers 
had last until the morning of the second day, when I 
began to issue what I had in reserve, dividing the 
food equally among the passengers. 

"We removed the wood from the engines back 
to the coaches for fuel. That lasted until the second 
day. When the supply of fuel was exhausted I moved 
the passengers from the rear coach to the forward 
coaches and began to break up the rear car for fuel. 
The morning of the third day found us without food 
of any kind, with no prospect of getting out of our 
snow-bound prison and the storm still raging. Star- 
vation was staring us in the face. 

"Twelve weary hours passed without food of any 
kind. Water was obtained by melting snow. 

"It so happened that three passengers were on 
their way to Chicago to hunt prairie chickens. With 
them were three fine bird dogs. From the first I had 
my eye on those canines. 


"To keep us from starving to death I decided to 
utilize the bird catchers. With the consent of their 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


owners I quietly slaughtered the dogs in the baggage 
car. I broiled all three, using telegraph wire for a 
broiler, and distributed the food among the crowd of 
hungry passengers, informing them that I had found 
a carcass of venison in the express car. In those days 
plenty of deer were running wild over the prairies. 

"The hungry crowd picked the bones clean. That 
night a little one first saw the light of day in that 
snow bank. We christened the little girl Snow 

"The next morning two Canadians among the 
passengers announced their intention of attempting to 
reach Chicago on snow shoes made from the back .of a 
car seat. Against the advice of the passengers they 
set out on their trip. They never reached the windy 
city alive. About two weeks after the storm their 
bodies were found on the prairie. 

"The afternoon of the fifth day the welcome sound 
of locomotive whistles greeted our ears and a relief 
party dug us out of our snow prison and pulled us to 
Chicago. A more weary and disconsolate crowd never 
entered the city. Our train was the first to enter 
Chicago on any road for four days. 

"For four days business of all kinds was suspend- 
ed in Chicago. A fuel famine existed, outbuildings 
were torn down and used for fuel to keep people from 
freezing to death. The waterworks were frozen solid; 
snow was melted for drinking water. Business houses 
or all kinds were closed; the streets were impassable. 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

"Such a storm had never been known in this 
country and none like it has been experienced since. 
Chicago was then a city of only 50,000 inhabitants." 

The writer is mistaken. At that time the railroad 
was just completed to Iowa City and had been run- 
ning to Davenport nearly two years. 

Some of Mr. Floyd's passengers were on the way 
to this city to attend the celebration of the comple- 
tion of the railroad to this place on January 1, 1856. 
Upon reaching here they were surprised at the mild- 
ness of the climate as the snow was only twenty inches 
in depth and the average temperature only sixteen 
below zero. 

JONES IN 1849 

June 15, 1849. 
My Dear Pastor: — As the reports from here may 
have been exaggerated in regard to the sickness, I 
will give you a brief statement, although you may 
learn the exact number of deaths, by cholera in the 
ranks of our citizens from The Hawk-Eye. 

There have been four or five persons left" 4 by the 
boats, who died of cholera, previous to the attack of 
Wesley Jones. He and his son arrived on Thursday 
morning, having been hurried or frightened out of St. 
Louis before he had got through his business. On the 
afternoon of his arrival he was attacked in his store, 
while opening goods. Instead of going directly home, 

Old Settlers' Association of Johnson County 


he went up into his counting room and lay down. He 
found it necessary, however, to be at home, and in- 
stead, of calling a carriage, for fear of alarming his 
family and the citizens, he leaned on the arm of his 
brother and walked home. On getting to his room 
he fainted. Being the next door neighbors, we were 
immediately called in. We applied the usual remedies 
and by the time the bell rang for prayer meeting a com- 
plete reaction seemed to have taken place. * * Be- 
lieving he was safe, I went to the meeting, but left Mrs. 
E. with him. When I returned about half past nine, 
I found two physicians at his home, Doctors Henry 
and Hickok, and that every symptom had changed 
for the worse. At 6 o'clock next morning he died. 
Being so well known, his sudden death caused a great 
panic, even as high up as Iowa City. Shortly after 
his son was taken, then his sister, Virginia, then Mary, 
the girl, then Mrs. Jones, then two of the younger 
children, but by the skillfulness of Doctor Henry, with 
God's blessing and the constant watching of my wife, 
they all recovered in about a fortnight. 

The next death was that of a man living in the 
old Iowa house. After him a laboring man by the 
name of Butler, next Golding, the drunken black- 
smith, and then little "Johnny" Randall in the little 
brick house next south of J. G. Foote's. A Dutch 
woman also died. These are all the deaths of residents, 
by cholera, I believe. Several have been put off boats 
who have died with the cholera. The Rev. Mr. Smith 
and myself visited all we could hear of who had the 
cholera. I suppose there were about fifty cases, but 
taken in season they have recovered. The basis of 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

Dr. Henry's treatment has been pills of morphine, 
calomel, and sugar of lead, with laudanum injections. 
He has used no stimulants and has not lost a patient. 
W. Jones was properly Hickok's patient. 

Although we have been very much fatigued, the 
Lord has wonderfully kept our family, notwithstand- 
ing we have had the cholera all around us. None of 
the members of the church have been seriously in- 
disposed, but Mr. Hendrie, and he has recovered.* 

Wesley Jones and his brother, Harvey Jones 
erected the first frame store room in the city in the 
summer of 1839. It was in the center of block 84 
on Washington street. After the death of Wesley 
Jones, Harvey Jones and John Powell became part- 
ners, and there conducted an extensive business for 
many years. After the retirement of Harvey Jones 
from the firm, Mr. Powell continued in the trade until 
recent years. Wesley Jones was the first real mer- 
chant to establish himself in the county. 

The epidemic of cholera of 1849 did not extend 
beyond the immediate vicinity of the Mississippi river, 
but was very fatal along that stream. 


In 1838 George Bumgardner, of Bloomington was 
employed by Philip Clark and John Gilbert to lay out 
the town of Napoleon. It embraced all of the land 

♦Extract from a letter of James G. Edwards of Burlington to Dr. Salter. 


Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 35 

in the farm of James McCollister and extended south 
to the township line. Gilbert's trading house was in 
the southeast corner of the town and the town of 
Poweshiek and the fortified city of Wapashaheik were 
both within the borders of Napoleon. Its streets 
were wide and miles in length; it had its parks and 
boat landings-. Washington street extended east from 
the Iowa river two miles. It was a town of vast 

First Court House in the County 

proportions and the hopes of its founders were high. 
During the summer of 1838 Clark and Gilbert erected 
therein the court house. It was the first court house 
and the first large frame building in the county. The 
structure was twenty by thirty-two feet in dimensions 
and was neatly finished. Within it the county com- 
missioners for several years held their court. There 
was held the first and several succeeding county 
elections, all the voters of the county going there to 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

cast their ballots. There, the commissioners to locate 
a seat of government for the territory of Iowa met 
and determined on the City of Iowa (later changed to 
Iowa City) as the place. When the town of Napoleon 
disappeared from the map the court house became 
the dwelling of Philip Clark. In its vicinity occurred 
the killing of young Street by Elisha Pierson and the 
many dastardly acts that led to the tragic ending of 
the life of Boyd Wilkerson. The building stood on 
the west side of the road and almost directly west 
of the present residence of James McCollister. The only 
other house in Napoleon was the John Morford claim 
cabin. It was for a time the home of Patrick and 
Mary Smith. 


On May 2, 1842, the county commissioners made 
a contract with James Trimble for the erection of a 
court house on lot 8, block 8 in the county seat. The 
building was to be of brick, twenty-eight by fifty-six 
feet in size, two stories in height, and to be finished 
complete by October 1st, 1843. The contract price 
was two thousand dollars. The building was enclosed 
by that time and the court room on the lower floor 
was occupied, but the jury rooms and office rooms 
on the upper floor were not completed for use until 
1 848 . The building is shown as it was planned. It will 
be noticed that the chimneys were not carried as high 
as the peak of the roof. The result was that the flues 
would not draw if the wind was blowing across the 
building. Many times court was adjourned until the 
wind changed and the smoke subsided. The jury 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


rooms on the upper floor were about twelve feet square 
and it was said that a jury never failed to agree within 
an hour after they were locked in the smoky little 
rooms. On one occasion a jury left the room and 
adjourned to Bob Keating' s grocery up town where 
they spent the night. In the morning Judge Williams 
on his way to the court house, was surprised to find 
the foreman of the jury seated on a whiskey barrel 

The First Court House in Iowa City 

in front of the grocery while the other members of 
the jury were engaged in a game of eucre in order to 
decide between plaintiff and defendant, and who 
should square the bill at the bar — for in those days 
all first class groceries had a bar. When remonstrated 
with by the judge for leaving their room without orders 
from the court, the foreman said the smoke was so 
thick we could not see to read your instructions, the 
writing was not very plain anyhow, so we thought best 


Forty-third Annual Meeting of the 

to go where we could see the papers and as we have 
decided to agree we will come down and give in our 
verdict, and they did. The court house was known as 
Trimble's smoke house. The chimneys were in later 
years extended as high as the peak of the roof and 
did not smoke so badly. 

The building was abandoned as unsafe in 1858 
and court was held elsewhere until the erection of the 
third county court house upon the site of the present 
structure. On the night after the election in Novem- 
ber, 1859, the judges of election were engaged in the 
old court house in counting the votes, when a snuff 
from one of the candles fell through the broken floor 
and ignited a pile of waste paper that had gathered 
for years. Soon the old building was a mass of smoke 
and flame. The contents of the county offices were 
removed from the upper rooms and English Bill Ham- 
ilton, the deputy clerk, with his hunting dog, wolf 
skin cap, and shot gun, was forced to leave his lodg- 
ings. Charley Berryhill with some boys, came with 
the German fire company's old side stroke engine and 
after a feeble attempt at fire fighting, the first temple 
of justice in Iowa City, was left to the flames and by 
morning only a pile of broken brick remained to mark 
the spot where for years had gathered the legal 
celebrities of the territory, county, and state, and the 
county officers for a long time had made their official 
home. Much that transpired within that old build- 
ing if gathered into shape would make an interesting 
chapter in the early history of the county. 

Having passed one of the most pleasant meetings 
of the association, the members gathered at the table 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


of the secretary and proceeded to th \ election of 
officers for the ensuing year. The election resulted 
in choosing for, 

President, Rev. Adam Schwimley, 

Vice President, J. M. Howell, 

Treasurer, Henry J. Wieneke, 

Secretary, G. R. Irish. 

The president appointed Charles Baker, Matthew 
Cavanaugh, E. B. Wilson, S. P. Fry, and C. E. Clifford 
as executive committee for the year.